Inside Politics

Temporary Foreign Workers program tops the Commons agenda

As the Hill returns to its traditional post-recess state of perpetual parliamentary motion, MPs get set to spend the day discussing the pros and cons of a New Democrat-sponsored opposition motion urging immediate action on the controversial Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which, it states, "as been open to abuse resulting in the firing of qualified Canadian workers, lower wages and the exploitation of temporary foreign workers."

"Therefore," it continues, "the government should: (a) impose an immediate moratorium on the Stream for Lower-skilled Occupations, which includes fast-food, service and restaurant jobs; and (b) request an urgent audit of the whole program by the Auditor General."

The Temporary Foreign Workers program will also be on the agenda at Human Resources this morning, where Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner will attempt to put forward a proposal to hold "televised hearings" on problems within the program, with Employment Minister Jason Kenney at the top of the witness list, followed by Saskatchewan waitresses Sandy Nelson and Shaunna Jennison-Yung, who claim they lost their jobs at a Weyburn pizza restaurant to temporary foreign workers.

Depending on how members choose to proceed, the ensuing debate may or may not take place in public.

Meanwhile,a little over a month after launching their review of the government's proposed election law rewrite, Procedure and House Affairs heads into the final stage of committee consideration before sending the bill back to the House: clause-by-clause review.

That process is scheduled to get underway this morning, and resume later this evening, in an effort to discuss each and every one of the 158 clauses that make up the 200-plus page bill -- not to mention those 344 proposed amendments -- before Thursday afternoon, when the committee's self-imposed deadline comes due, and all remaining votes must be put without further discussion.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

    • Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz and senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem field questions on the latest monetary policy report at Finance, which is also slated to hear what Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Frechette has to say about the economic and fiscal outlook.
    • Government Operations continues its investigation into open data practices within the federal government, with expert witnesses from the respective governments of Ontario and the cities of Ottawa and Toronto scheduled to share their perspective, as will Public Policy Forum researcher Don Lenihan.
      The committee may also get the chance to debate a motion to be put forward by Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, who is pushing for an investigation into the recent Heartbleed security breach.
    • Taking a distinctly different angle on the ongoing Ukraine crisis, Natural Resources launches a new study into "opportunities for Canada to contribute to energy security," both in Ukraine and "the rest of Europe," with representatives from the Canada Europe Round Table for Business, the Polish government and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada set to testify on the subject.
    • International Trade resumes consideration of the proposed free trade deal between Canada and Honduras
    • Ethics hears from software experts, academics and lawyers as it pursues its investigation into the "growing problem of identity theft."

On the Hill media circuit:

    • New Democrat Human Rights critic Wayne Marston hits the Centre Block press theatre to address the ongoing "illegal detention" of Khaled Al-Qazzaz in Egypt alongside his wife, Sara Mattia.
    • The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in Canada hits the Hill as representatives from Human Rights Watch, Mines Action Canada, the New School for Public Engagement join University of Ottawa professor Ian Kerr to share the details of the just-launched initiative to end the use of autonomous weapons.
    • The Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives release Professor Michael Byers' latest report on growing life cycle cost of an F-35 fleet, evocatively titled 'The Plane That Ate The Canadian Military'.
    • Amnesty International Canada secretary general Alex Neve joins representatives from the Assembly of First Nations to "speak out about the worsening human rights emergency that threatens the very survival of scores of Indigenous peoples in Colombia" -- many of whom, the advisory notes, "living in areas earmarked for resource extraction."
    • Members of the All-Party Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care discuss their latest effort to work together on the issue, with Canadian Medical Association president-elect Dr. Chris Simpson also scheduled to be in attendance.
    • Later this afternoon, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler joins "Russia expert" and Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Broder's call for new sanctions against Russian officials "complicit in human rights violations" following Browder's midday appearance before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, where he will outline the case of Sergei Magnitsky, an anti-corruption lawyer who died in jail in 2009.

Also out and about in the precinct: International Development Minister Christian Paradis teams up parliamentary secretary Lois Brown to "highlight Canada's leadership role in promoting the health of women and children in developing countries" during 'Live Below The Line', an awareness-raising event co-hosted by RESULTS Canada and the Micronutrient Initiative.

Finally, Samara co-founders Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan host a post-work reception at the Metropolitan to celebrate the launch their new book, Tragedy in the Commons.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.